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What possible good could meditation do against prostate cancer? Do not underestimate the power of the mind and its ability to affect the immune system. You may think meditation is good only to help you relax and reduce stress, and while meditation has been shown to be an effective stress management tool for this purpose, it may do more.
Many experts believe stress may have a role in cancer by triggering an immune system response that initiates the uncontrollable cell mutation associated with cancer.
That’s where meditation comes in: when you practice meditation, you can reduce the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and hinder the inflammatory process. Chronic stress can lead to chronic inflammation, which in turn can promote cell division and decrease apoptosis (cell death). Meditation is a way to put the brakes on that process. Meditation is free, requires no special equipment, and can be an effective way to fight the stress that may contribute to the development of prostate cancer.
In a small randomized, controlled pilot study, researchers evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of an eight-week mindfulness meditation program in men with prostate cancer who chose active surveillance. Factors examined included anxiety concerning having prostate cancer, uncertainty intolerance, and posttraumatic growth.
Overall, the investigators found that posttraumatic growth increased significantly over time, which prompted the authors to state that mindfulness meditation training “has the potential to help men cope more effectively with some of the stressors and uncertainties associated with active surveillance.”
Victorson D et al. Feasibility, acceptability and preliminary psychological benefits of mindfulness meditation training in a sample of men diagnosed with prostate cancer on active surveillance: results from a randomized controlled pilot trial. Psychooncology 2016 May 3
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